Glenavon 2–4 Glentoran
Danske Bank Premiership
Mourneview Park, Saturday 26th February 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon eventually succumbed to high-flying Glentoran at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon, with Conor McMenamin scoring a hat-trick as the visitors ran out 4-2 winners.
Matthew Snoddy opened the scoring for Glenavon on nine minutes with a brilliant curling shot from the edge of the box.
Glentoran levelled matters in the 20th minute when Conor McMenamin converted on the rebound after Glenavon goalkeeper James Taylor had made a superb save to keep out Robbie McDaid’s shot.
The Lurgan Blues got their noses in front for a second time when Peter Campbell showed quick feet to evade two Glentoran players in the penalty area before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner in the 61st minute.
The Donnelly brothers combined as Glentoran equalised again on 78 minutes, with substitute Ruaidhri crossing for Jay to head home at the near post.
The Glens then took the lead just two minutes later, as McMenamin’s cross deceived Taylor, sailing over his head and finding the net.
McMenamin completed his hat-trick and scored Glentoran’s fourth goal in the sixth minute of injury time when he converted from Michael O’Connor’s cross to wrap up the three points for the visitors.
It was the Glens who threatened first when Jay Donnelly picked out McDaid with a cross from the left in the second minute, but the former Glenavon forward’s glancing header drifted wide of the post.
Three minutes later Shay McCartan fizzed in a dangerous low cross from the right, but none of his teammates could get on the end of it.
Glenavon’s first shot on target arrived on seven minutes when Campbell had a go from a free-kick, but it was a routine save for Aaron McCarey in the Glentoran goal.
Glenavon grabbed the lead on nine minutes. Conor McCloskey battled his way into the penalty area following a James Singleton throw-in and the ball eventually fell kindly for Snoddy. The midfielder struck a superb curling shot with his right foot which beat the dive of McCarey and nestled in the far top corner.
The Glens drew level 11 minutes later. Willie Garrett sent a long ball over the top for Jay Donnelly to chase and the striker cleverly slipped it into the path of McDaid. His shot was brilliantly saved by Taylor, but the rebound fell to McMenamin and he took a couple of touches to set himself before drilling the ball into the net.
Glenavon continued to play positive football, and another good spell on 32 minutes ended with McCloskey finding the head of Matthew Fitzpatrick with a cross. The striker’s header went over the bar, however, and the teams went in level at the break.
Glenavon’s Michael O’Connor saw his shot go narrowly over the crossbar from a free-kick seven minutes into the second half.
Glenavon took the lead for the second time a minute after the hour mark. Campbell picked the ball up from a Singleton throw-in and turned Rhys Marshall before playing a neat one-two with Snoddy. When the ball came back to the winger he showed superb skill to dance past Seanan Clucas and Darren Cole before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner with his left foot.
Five minutes later McCloskey whipped in a dangerous low cross from the right, but it was just too far ahead of Fitzpatrick.
Glentoran drew level again on 78 minutes. Substitute Ruaidhri Donnelly raced onto a Bobby Burns pass down the left flank and hooked over a cross for brother Jay. The striker’s diving header beat the dive of Taylor at the goalkeeper’s near post.
Just two minutes later the Glens grabbed the lead for the first time in the match. McMenamin sent in a cross from deep on the right and a few Glentoran players jumped with Taylor to challenge for the ball. In the end nobody got a touch on the ball and Taylor misjudged the flight of it badly as it sailed over his head and into the net.
Glenavon tried in vain to find an equaliser as the game entered the closing minutes, and it was Glentoran who delivered the killer blow in the sixth minute of injury time when McMenamin completed his hat-trick to seal the three points. Substitute Michael O’Connor delivered a cross from the right and McMenamin converted to add gloss to the Glentoran victory.
It was a valiant effort from Glenavon, but just not quite enough in the end to deny a Glentoran team which moves back to the top of the league standings.
The Lurgan Blues are in action again on Tuesday night (8th March), as they travel to Inver Park to take on a Larne teamwhich currently occupies fourth place in the Danske Bank Premiership table. Kick-off is at 7.45 PM.
MATCH SPONSOR – McCleary and Co. Ltd.
BALL SPONSOR – Rejuvenated
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Jonathan Burns
Glenavon: 18. James Taylor (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey, 6. Andrew Doyle, 8. Michael O’Connor, 10. Peter Campbell, 14. Matthew Snoddy, 17. Conor McCloskey, 19. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 27. James Singleton (C), 30. Sean Ward
Subs: 7. Andrew Waterworth (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 89’), 21. Jack O’Mahony (for 14. Matthew Snoddy, 89’), 26. Joshua Doyle (for 6. Andrew Doyle, 89’); not used: 11. Andrew Hall, 20. Conor Scannell, 44. Harry Lynch, 46. Harry Norton
Goals: 14. Matthew Snoddy (9’), 10. Peter Campbell (61’)
Yellow cards: 17. Conor McCloskey (73’)
Glentoran: 37. Aaron McCarey (GK), 2. William Garrett, 6. Bobby Burns, 7. Seamus McCartan, 8. Rhys Marshall, 9. Jay Donnelly, 11. Robbie McDaid, 16. Seanan Clucas (C), 22. Caolan Marron, 24. Conor McMenamin, 27. Hrvoje Plum
Subs: 40. Darren Cole (for 2. William Garrett, 28’), 10. Ruaidhri Donnelly (for 11. Robbie McDaid, 62’), 18. Michael O’Connor (for 7. Seamus McCartan, 62’); not used: 26. Ben Cushnie, 29. Aaron Wightman, 30. Jordan Jenkins, 33. Ross Glendinning (GK)
Goals: 24. Conor McMenamin (20’, 80’, 90+6’), 9. Jay Donnelly (78’)
Yellow cards: 8. Rhys Marshall (35’), 11. Robbie McDaid (45+1’), 37. Aaron McCarey (73’), 24. Conor McMenamin (90+4’)
Referee: Shane Andrews